What You Need to Know About Watch Winder (2023 Updated)

What You Need to Know About Watch Winder (2023 Updated)

When an automatic watch isn't being worn, it keeps operating with the help of a complicated apparatus called a watch winder. Both the style and size of watch winders vary. Some serve as safes, while others have the appearance of little jewelry boxes.

Although a watch winder is not strictly speaking a necessary piece of gear for every watch wearer or collector to possess, there are three very good reasons why people choose to buy them:

  1. The overall longevity of your watch’s movement is extended thanks to the oils found within the movement mechanisms continually being dispersed.
  2. Having a watch winder eliminates the inconvenience of having to manually wind and re-set your watch after a few days of not wearing it.
  3. Those who collect watches need not worry about their watches that aren’t currently being worn running down.


A watch winder is a complex device designed to serve a simple purpose: to keep an automatic watch running when it’s not being worn.



We must first discuss how automatic watches work generally in order to adequately understand how watch winders function. A watch that winds itself automatically is one that has a movable weight inside of it. In line with the wearer's movements, this movable weight rotates.

According to such reasoning, an automatic watch is not wound if it is not being worn. Here is a description of how watch winders function:

  1. When the watch owner doesn’t plan on wearing their watch that day, they’ll carefully place it in the watch winder.
  2. Once secured in the watch winder, make the appropriate adjustment to the winder’s controls, following the winder manufacturer’s directions. These may include rotation direction, turns per day (TPD), length of operation, and more. Refer to your watch’s manual for specifics about winding direction and TPD. Can’t find that information in your manual? Check this handy guide.
  3. The watch winder will then be switched on. Batteries or AC power operate watch winders, so they’ll either need to be switched on by pressing a button or by being plugged into a power source.
  4. The watch winder will begin mimicking the movements and motions associated with the human wrist before pausing. How often and the length of pauses depends on your specific TPD settings, but most watch winders will turn for 30 seconds to one minute before pausing.
  5. When the owner decides to wear their watch once more, they’ll remove it from the watch winder and place it on their wrist.



Many people don’t wear their watches every day, and even more people collect watches and want to give them all adequate wrist time, so this question pops up often. The answer is It depends on the capabilities of your winder. Automatic movements have a slip-clutch that prevents overwinding. However, it is safer to not put too much stress on the mechanism through non-stop winding. Run it for a day and turn it off. A programmable timer is an ideal solution. Or, if you are a gadget freak as well as a watch freak, control the winder from your smartphone and the appropriate hardware.

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